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Witnesses say they saw man stab Marine at Augusta Best Buy

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The bustle of Black Friday turned into chaos last year when a Marine was stabbed by a suspected shoplifter, witnesses testified Monday.

“We were just talking to him then -- boom -- a confrontation started,” Kevin Laird, a former loss prevention manager at the Best Buy on Walton Way Extension, testified Monday during the trial of the suspected shoplifter, Tracey Attaway.

On Nov. 26, Laird and other employees say they confronted Attaway as he attempted to stuff a laptop down his pants. Attaway was calm for a minute, then knocked an employee, Tommy Walker, to the floor as he tried to make his escape.

The two scuffled briefly, knocking over displays and bumping into customers until onlookers screamed, “Oh my God, he’s got a knife.”

“I automatically backed away from him ... for my protection,” Walker said.

Attaway immediately cleared a path through the crowd and loss prevention officers when he brandished a folding knife with a4-inch blade, witnesses testified. Attaway literally ran out of his shoes in his sprint to the door and was almost free. But waiting in the breezeway between the double doors was a group of Marines collecting donations for Toys for Tots.

What happened next changed a simple shoplifting to “an armed attack on a man who serves our country,” Assistant District Attorney Adam King said in his opening statement to jurors.

Marine Sgt. Phillip Duggan, a reservist, was among the Marines in the breezeway, and he grabbed Attaway as he fled. Dr. Patrick Youssef witnessed the events while browsing near the returns section and testified Monday that Attaway stabbed Duggan in the back as he tried to get out of the door. Youssef said it was deliberate action. Duggan is expected to testify this morning.

Attaway’s attorney, Lee Prescott, told jurors Monday that his client doesn’t deny shoplifting. Besides the laptop, arresting officers said they found $1,300 worth of electronics, including cameras, inside Attaway’s clothing.

But “this is far and away from what the state is trying to make it,” Prescott said.

Surveillance camera footage from that day only shows Attaway tearing apart the laptop box and Best Buy staff confronting him. It stops short of the scuffle with loss prevention, and there’s no video evidence of the incident that injured Duggan.

Before trial began Monday, Prescott made one last effort to negotiate a plea with the prosecution. Prescott sought a reduced charge of felony shoplifting instead of armed robbery, along with a reduction in the aggravated assault charge.

King demurred, saying pulling out a knife while stealing items from a store is “textbook” armed robbery.

Cherry Tree Crossing murder trial

Trial began for Samuel Steplight, who is accused of killing Norma Jean Mobley last November in her home on the 1600 block of McCauley Street in the Cherry Tree Crossing housing complex.

Family members said Steplight and Mobley had lived together for about four years, but split up about a month before her death. Mobley was 52.

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GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 10/03/11 - 07:59 pm
0
0
Its not far from what the
Unpublished

Its not far from what the prosecution is trying to make it. Don't plea with this waste of flesh!!!!!!! Nail him!!!

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 10/04/11 - 02:03 am
0
0
Lawyers love to point out

Lawyers love to point out that there is "no video evidence" of a specific crime- so what!!! Not all police cars have cameras, not all stores have cameras and those that do will not capture all incidents. We must rely on our police, good citizens, etc. and in this case, more than enough people saw what happened not to mention the end result for our marine to put this scum away for a long time. As for his attorney, don't give me "you are just doing your job" because your comments go far beyond your job as you defend a would be murderer had the knife struck the right spot.

david jennings
599
Points
david jennings 10/04/11 - 07:29 am
0
0
No negotiated plea no reduced

No negotiated plea no reduced charges,this man is a danger to civil society.He needs to be locked away for a long time.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 10/04/11 - 06:37 pm
0
0
I could never be an attorney.

I could never be an attorney. This person needs to be locked away for a long time. No bargain, no plea, nada. He could have killed someone.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/04/11 - 07:57 pm
0
0
Patty - He almost did kill

Patty - He almost did kill someone. He almost killed Marine Sargent Phillip Duggan, for which he was found guilty today. The conviction is on another thread. With 30 other crimes under his belt, Judge Carl Brown put him away for life. .

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 10/04/11 - 08:48 pm
0
0
"Marine Sgt. Phillip Duggan,
Unpublished

"Marine Sgt. Phillip Duggan, a reservist, was among the Marines in the breezeway, and he grabbed Attaway as he fled. Dr. Patrick Youssef witnessed the events while browsing near the returns section and testified Monday that Attaway stabbed Duggan in the back as he tried to get out of the door. Youssef said it was deliberate action. Duggan is expected to testify this morning."

Sgt. Duggan was overheard telling fellow reservists...the news of my recent ALMOST demise is greatly exaggerated!

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